September 12, 2011
Owuya back in net for Baby Leafs
By LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency
OSHAWA - A trend in recent Toronto training camps has been goaltenders who aren’t projected to be No. 1 with the Leafs or Marlies putting on a show to make management think twice.
That is happening in the rookie tournament. Garret Sparks gave up early goals in both his games and then was sharp the rest of the way, while Mark Owuya looks to follow up a 30-minute shutout of Chicago in Tuesday’s title match against Ottawa. Owuya, who signed a two-year entry level contract out of the Swedish Elite League (SEL), is slated to go the distance against the Sens at General Motors Centre.
“Mark is a professional and Garret was just drafted. However, (both) need play in a game situation such as this to gain proper experience,” said Leafs director of player development Jim Hughes.
Owuya is a man of mystery on this side of the Atlantic, but he did lead the SEL with a .927 save percentage with Djurgardens. He’s been trying to distance himself from a one-off appearance years ago on Sweden’s version of American Idol as rapper Mark From Da Park, assuring hockey is his passion and music a hobby, not vice-versa.
The 6-foot-2 Owuya has benefitted from goalie coach Francois Allaire’s tutoring, here and in Allaire’s annual Swedish goaltending clinics where he first came to the Leafs’ attention.
Owuya’s Ugandan-born father met his mother while studying in Russia. The couple moved to Sweden where Owuya was born. He and his brother were almost 10 years old before their mother signed them up to play hockey.